I’m just curious how Bookworm Room Readers respond to this article

One school of thought suggests that adhering to a stronger conservative position benefits the Republican party.  Another says that the best way to appeal to crucial middle-of-the-road voters is to adopt a middle-of-the-road position on the issues.  This article contends that the tea party efforts on behalf of the first viewpoint have damaged the Republican “brand,” hurt Romney’s chances and strengthened Obama’s position.

Let me just add that the last two presidential candidates to take relatively pure ideological positions (Goldwater and McGovern) failed badly.  I suppose the results in 2010, while not a Presidential election, could be cited as a counter-example.  Your thoughts?

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  • Old Buckeye

    I don’t support the GOP. I like that the Tea Party has been a grass-roots effort with one or two goals, not scattershot and wishy-washy. I never saw Romney as a Tea Party candidate, although the Tea Party has to back him cause he’s the only alternative. I have liked that he seems to have a spine and not bend to the whims of the GOP–or the Tea Party, for that matter.  But I was taken aback when a woman I know–and thought would be on the side of Romney–said she was turned off Romney by strident Tea Party rhetoric! I don’t know what media sources she uses, but I have never seen anything that made me think the Tea Party was shaping Romney’s message, let alone being strident about it. 

  • Navy Bob

    A bunch of random thoughts here but no clear solutions. I have not supported the Republicans for years, they always seem to lose out to the Dems when a compromise is called for.  I like the Tea Party so far, they seem to represent where I think but I know we cannot govern from a Tea Party perspective. In my opinion we have gridlock in Washington because of the way we choose our candidates. With gerrymandered districts we either choose a right wing wacko or a left wing loony.  No one should be surprised if nothing gets done and of course the media blames the Republicans.  I am disappointed that the Republicans have a low approval rating but I am not surprised, after all if one believes in the Democratic principles the sharp people end up in politics, if one believes in Republican principles government is not where they look for a career. We clearly need to get the Republican message out there, to many people think the Dems are for the little guy and the Republicans are for big business and can’t think beyond that.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    I was struck by your last comment.  I was talking yesterday with one of my new neighbors who said he was voting for Obama (a distinct minority here in The Villages).  When I asked him why, he said exactly what you said — Republicans are for big business and Democrats are for the little guy.  Even he immediately followed that with a volunteered admission that that might be oversimplifying things, but it was apparently enough to determine his voting for his entire life.

    Oddly, from what little I learned of his career, he seems to have managed multi-million dollar construction projects for just the kind of small to not-so-small business that should be a natural home for the Republican party.  Yet he firmly identified with the “little guy” and, therefore, the Democrats.  

  • TarHeel 41

    I do believe that the Democrats manage to win without appealing to the middle.  As far as I can see their position is strickly liberal, and it seems to be working for them.

  • BrianE

    Labels and slogans have become the new truth in this day.

    The tea party is labeled extremist, but what is extreme about not spending more money than you make?

    The Republicans are the party of Big Business, but it was Bill Clinton that signed NAFTA and supported expanded WTO trade agreements.

    The article you linked to is the typical hatchet job that passes for analysis anymore. It’s always about the horse race, not about the horse.

    A man with principles becomes an ideologue to another.

    What are your principles DQ? Where do you draw the line at compromise? It may be a different line than mine, but does that mean we can’t respect those whose lines are at a different place?

    As to whether or not Republicans should ‘compromise’ to win– that’s what makes it difficult for a Republican to win– to remain true to principles when any deviation from the labels created by the media as to the candidates or parties convictions will be cast as hypocrisy. I think there’s something in the Alinsky playbook about that.

    If Republicans lose they lose. I object to stooping to the level of liberals, whose principles seem to have been cast adrift. That doesn’t mean being a doormat. When the president lies, we should shout- ‘You Lie’.

    As to what’s the middle of the road, the country is driving in the gutter for the most part, so what’s actually the middle is becoming problematic. 

  • Charles Martel

    I have looked high and low in vain for some evidence that Tea Party positions are “radical” in any sense, especially in evoking memories of McGovern. They are simple, fundamental beliefs that until a few years ago would have been accepted as sane and normal by most Americans—small government, non-confiscatory taxes, bureaucratic transparency and accountability, states rights, and hands off people’s private lives and habits of consumption.
    The fact that so many people wrongly believe the Tea Party is radical, or racist, or anti-gay tells me that the Whore Media have done a good job planting that meme.
    As for DQ’s double-thinking friend, it goes back to the cheap grace and cognitive dissonance that liberals and leftists so adore. “Yes, I’ve made millions in business, but I am a good person and I was thinking proper thoughts with every buck I made.” To paraphrase Jesus, “The fools you will always have with you.”

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    CM, have you considered the possibility that in today’s world the positions you mention truly are radical?  People seem to prefer the combination of LARGE government and non-confiscatory taxes, resulting in ever-increasing debt.  And large verse small is not always clear-cut.  Heck, the Left wants smaller government when it comes to national defense.  I don’t think many would argue against transparency or accountability, but “states rights” is a foreign concept to meny and interference in private lives and habits of consumption is assumed to be a good thing, when the interference is for a “good” end. 

    After all, the pro-abortion folks would argue that any restrictions on abortion are interferences in private lives.  And laws limiting drug use certainly effect habits of consumption.  From the Left’s standpoint (and from my libertarian standpoint, for that matter) the question isn’t “hand’s off people’s private lives and habits of consumption” but which interferences the Left and the Right favor. 

    In an era where the budget has been balanced something like twice in the last 50 years, even the idea of a balanced budget is pretty radical.

    BrianE, I draw the line where it needs to be drawn to accomplish the maximum that can be accomplished.  Translated, that means that Romney should compromise as much as he needs to do to get elected (but no more), because even the most compromised Romney imaginable wouldn’t be nearly as bad as Obama.  However, I must admit that my son’s view has some appeal.  He thinks the battle is lost and the quicker we let the Leftists have complete control and fail completely the better.  If you believe that, then compromise just delays the inevitable, and we shouldn’t bother.         

  • Charles Martel

    DQ, your son’s approach is an ironic variant of the old Marxist tactic of “heightening the contradictions” so that people will awaken to the evils of capitalism and in doing so usher in the inevitable triumph of socialism that much more quickly. Only in this case we let the statists win so that people’s eyes will be opened to their inability to provide much of anything more than squalor.
    Maybe your son would like to ask Russians, Cubans, Vietnamese, and Chinese how many years are necessary to have one’s eyes opened before a statist regime collapses of its own accord. I wish I could be as blithely passive.

  • Mike Devx

    DQ notes: People seem to prefer the combination of LARGE government and non-confiscatory taxes, resulting in ever-increasing debt.
    It’s also known as: Having your cake and eating it, too.
    Or: Money grows on trees.
    Or: Santa Claus IS real!
    Or as I might put it: What a bunch of children masquerading as adults!  They want large government, but they DON’T want to pay for it.  Well, of course, wouldn’t that be just wonderful… if you don’t have to pay for it!  Free health care, free this, free that… free cellphones, free willy, free EVERYTHING!  What’s not to like?
    Except when the bill comes due.
    >  However, I must admit that my son’s view has some appeal.  He thinks the battle is lost and the quicker we let the Leftists have complete control and fail completely the better.  If you believe that, then compromise just delays the inevitable, and we shouldn’t bother.
    I go back and forth on this one.  Some days I think it truly is too late; there’s no way to recover fiscal sanity.  We’re too far down the road, and political reality makes any significant restructuring impossible.
    Other days I think we still have to try.
    But your son’s position is, essentially, that of going John Galt.  Tune out.  Go find a way to make just a comfortable living.  They accuse you of being part of the problem.  You are making more money “than you really need”.  You are not paying “your fair share of taxes.”  If you really are part of the problem then hell, just agree with them, and drop out, and stop being part of the problem!  Doesn’t that make sense?  Give them exactly and precisely what they SAY they want.
    Given the hundreds of trillions of dollars in unfunded entitlements mandates coming our way over the next few decades – and I do mean multiple hundreds of trillions once you include ObamaCare – it is certainly reasonable to assume that there is no way out of our fiscal trap.  To assume that doom is inevitable.  But it is also reasonable to be optimistic and expect that a solution can be found.  Somehow.  I don’t know which is MORE reasonable…  innate American optimism, or a sense of harsh reality that this time, we’ve dug a hole so deep there truly is no way out.

  • BrianE

    I’m still not sure what tea party policy that Romney should abandon to win the election.

    As I recall, Ryan’s grand budget proposal doesn’t actually balance the budget for 30 years or so.

    We’re sitting on the shore sipping mai tai’s while a giant tsunami approaches in the distance. Some of us are advocating heading to higher ground. Some insist that the size of the oncoming wave is exaggerated. Some think they can surf on it when it hits the beach.

    Whether or not there is a mountain high enough to protect us is debatable.

    I don’t subscribe to your son’s theory either. While I suspect there is no ground high enough, I’m not going to give up looking for it.


  • jj

    Conservatism works every time it’s tried.  You want to make an exception of Goldwater, you first have to start with what exceptional times those were.  The election was less than a year after the assassination, the world was seen as being in a rather delicate condition vis-s-vis east and west, there was still some hope that Vietnam wouldn’t become the full-scale pissing match that it ultimately became – and Johnson’s campaign was a roomful of goddam good, professional liars.  It’s not unusual for democrats to be good, professional liars; but all the other things that converged right about the same time made it somewhat outside the usual rails upon which these things generally run.
    I agree with Old Buckeye: I am very sick and tired of the goddam GOP.  I don’t know to what victory these people have ever led us, but I do know their preferred candidates, (Ford, Bush I, Dole, McCain) stood for and believed in absolutely nothing, beyond some nebulous notion of “crossing the aisle” and all magically getting along.  I also know that if there has ever been a serious example of a democrat “crossing the aisle” and investing as much as a breath in getting along with republicans, it happened behind closed doors and was carefully kept a secret.  “Getting along” with liberals means caving in and doing it their way; not once do they ever give in on an issue and do it the conservative way – and I’m sick of it.  I’m sick of the jackasses who run the GOP thinking this is something to which we should subscribe.  They are worthless, and at this point the ends of the GOP are not different than those of the liberals, they’d just get us broke a little slower.
    And you can see their worthless input with Romney.  He could win this election – seal it away – tomorrow; if he’d pull his head out, stop listening to these halfwits, and start hammering what works.  In 2010 the tea party rammed Obamacare (though Obama didn’t write it; his contribution is to be one of the hundreds who never read it.  It’s really Pelosicare) up their noses 24-7, and loudly.  With what result?  A 63-0 win.  They won 63 House seats, and 6 Senate seats.  Obviously – to everyone except a thinker in the GOP – the issue has resonance.  This was less than two years ago, too, not in 1874.  They forgot already?  In exit polling it came through clearly that it wasn’t the economy, it wasn’t anything else: it was Obamacare.  All the way.  The republicans won because of voter concern over the federal government’s size, scope, reach, and insatiable demand for money and power, summed up in Obamacare and everything it represents.
    When asked, in exit polling in 2010, only 24% of respondents said Obama’s handling of the economy was the problem.  After two years during which he spent most of his time on health care, voters responded by 74% to 24% that they felt “dissatisfied” or “angry” about “the way the federal government is working.”  56% said the government “is doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.”  This equates neatly to Obamacare, does it not?  Since the 2010 elections, Rasmussen has done 77 polls on repeal of  Obamacare.  In every single one – all 77 – voters have responded that they support repeal, by as much as 29%, and never once less than 5%.  Real Clear Po0litics has done 19 other repeal polls taken since the 2010 election, in 18 of them repeal was favored.  Since the 2010 election repealing Obamacare’s overall won-loss record in the polls is 95-1.
    So why the hell are the GOP geniuses and handlers coaching Romney, and preparing policy, and writing speeches talking about ANYTHING else?  Why is Romney not bright enough to say: “hey, we got a winning issue here, an issue that wins massively, the issue that led to 63 seats in the house and 6 in the senate in 2010 – let’s focus on that!”  Why is he not saying that?  Why has he/they given up on the most potent argument he/they has/have?  Are these people entirely stupid?
    Without his stupid healthcare plan – written by the genius Pelosi – Obama’s been bad on the economy.  Okay, so have lots of people, including Bush.  He’s been a clown on the debt – but so was Bush.  He’s been a jackass on the wars – but so was Bush, though he improved a bit after Rumsfeld, when he was talked into surging.  Obama hasn’t, in other words, been nearly as bad as most of us here think he has, most American voters being one step above grade “moron.”  But – the one thing he cannot slide around, blame other people for, oil out from under, is Obamacare.  It’s his, he can’t escape it.  He can’t distance himself from it.  He argued for it, spearheaded it, signed it into law, and accepted it as being named after him.
    He can’t get away from it, AND EVERYBODY HATES IT!  Why is Romney not talking about it?  Why has he not tied it to Obama’s tail, every day , all day?  Saying “I’m going to repeal it one day 1” is not talking about it.  It is not tying Obama to it.  It is not using it to point out to the hayseeds exactly how far left Obama lives.  It is not making clear and simple how removed from America Obama is.  It is not turning it into a club with which to beat Obama over the head every single day between now and November – which is what it should be.  It’s what got people to the polls for a historic election in 2010.  Without it, and the tea party’s visceral reaction to it, it would still be Speaker Pelosi.
    So why are Romney and his surrounding posse of GOP geniuses ignoring it now?  What’s the problem – they don’t want to win?  They’re afraid to win?  All the stuff Romney talks about is nice, and true, and certainly a problem he could fix, sure.  So stipulated.  But why is he persistently refusing to address, sit on, and trumpet from the rooftops the one issue that galvanized everybody for a historic win two years ago?  If he would, you could watch how fast conservatism would steamroll Obama and his gang.  Part II of the 2010 thrashing.
    But he won’t.  Not polite, or something.  And if the GOP blows this and sticks us with four more years of this crap, then it’s time to yank the chain and flush the goddam GOP.  Past time.  Consign them to the ash-heap of history, and let’s be done with them.  The only way they can blow this is inexcusable stupidity, and if they’re that stupid there’s no reason for them to continue as a party.        

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Hard to believe that no one has yet mentioned Ronald Wilson Reagan, and his 1975 advice:
    “Our people look for a cause to believe in. Is it a third party we need, or is it a new and revitalized second party, raising a banner of no pale pastels, but bold colors which make it unmistakably clear where we stand on all of the issues troubling the people?”
    Read the whole thing……and remember RR’s electoral results.  Romney could probably come close to replicating those, if he’d stop listening to the GOP bigwigs (of the type) that feared and hated Reagan.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    While the Left tried to pain Reagan as an extremist, I don’t think the label ever stuck,like it didto Goldwater and McGovern.  Reagan was more pro-American than anything else, at a time when it was more okay to be that.  And he was, as Book likes to say, a “heppy warrior.”  His personal charm made him appear less extreme that he actually was (the same could be said for Obama, although his “charm” is lost on a lot of us).  I guess Reagan and Obama just prove that a person well to the Left or Right of center can win as long as the political position is hidden behind a more moderate or friendly face.   

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Wait, DQ….you were alive during the Reagan years, right?
    Are you really trying to equate Reagan to Obama because Reagan’s “political position (was) hidden behind a more moderate or friendly face.”?
    I mean……REALLY? 

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    Hi Earl.  Only in the sense thet I am comparing Goldwater to McGovern despite their vast differences.  In both Reagan’s and Obama’s cases, the man was more important than the message. How many times have you heard, even after 4 years of failure, that Obama is better “liked” than Romney?  Obama won because people wanted to vote for him.  He was black, likeable, and did not focus on how extreme he really was.  Reagan won because he was an extraordinarily likeable and decent man.  I really believe that his political positions were less important than the man himself.  The same positions put forward by a Goldwater or a Nixon would have lost.  Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I believe it’s true. 

  • http://OgBlog.net Earl

    Hey, DQ……whatever.
    However, initially you said:
    “(Reagan’s) personal charm made him appear less extreme that he actually was (the same could be said for Obama, although his “charm” is lost on a lot of us).  I guess Reagan and Obama just prove that a person well to the Left or Right of center can win as long as the political position is hidden behind a more moderate or friendly face.”
    Reagan’s “extreme” positions were in no way “hidden” behind his charm…..he talked about them constantly.  He was completely upfront about what he planned, and when he got into office, no one can (honestly) say they didn’t know what he was about.  There is NOTHING about RR’s campaign that can legitimately be equated, or even compared, to Obama’s fundamentally dishonest campaign rhetoric (cut the deficit in half, etc.) which he deployed to hide his actual intentions.

  • http://ruminationsroom.wordpress.com Don Quixote

    Hi Earl.  Fair criticism.  i chose my words poorly.  

  • Mike Devx

    I agree with DQ that there is a similarity between Obama and Reagan: They are both Teflon presidents.  Nothing seems to stick to Obama, in the same way that nothing seemed to stick to Reagan.  It drives their political opponents crazy.  I know that Obama ought to be down in the low 30% by any measure: likeability, effectiveness, etc, and I do not understand those people who keep rating him highly.

    Maybe DQ is right, that it comes down to some sort of “like-ability”.  I personally don’t know.  I don’t know how Obama keeps getting away with it.  He’s consistently in the mid-40 to low 50 in all these various poll categories.  And I just don’t understand how.

    An anti-Romney vote, I could understand.  I wouldn’t agree, but at least I could understand it.  This pro-Obama crap – oops, I mean, sentiment – reminds me of that old commercial with the frying eggs: “This is your brain.  This is your brain on drugs.  Any questions?”

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com Ymarsakar

    As you can clearly see, people still think of the Left as just another political party with simple, basic political disagreements with the other political parties of America. Until you can get those people to admit their erroneous buying into Leftist propaganda, you’re not going to cleanse America of corruption via something as simple, basic, and vulnerable to mass deception as elections or democracy.